New California electricity law

On October 12 California Governor Pete Wilson signed into law the new legislation on electricity restructuring that implements a $540 million pool for renewables projects and $250 million in public interest electricity R&D. Senate Bill 90, passed with broad bi-partisan support, guarantees wind projects 13% of the total $540 million renewables surcharge, which is $70 million. The legislation had been expected to be signed sometime before the end of the year (Windpower Monthly, October 1997). The funds will be awarded through a competitive application process. The California Energy Commission will allocate $62 million a year from 1998 to 2001 to research projects that best serve the public interest. The programming and funds were specified in the 1996 California Electricity Restructuring law. Starting on January 1, customers in California will be able to choose their electricity supplier.